Federal funding halted for Hurricane Harvey assistance

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods from floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development has halted the distribution of $1.95 billion that was approved for flood mitigation projects in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

A news release from HUD said the Texas General Land Office failed to provide paperwork detailing how the money would be spent to help people and communities at risk of natural disasters and climate change and said the state has 45 days to provide the information.

“We look forward to receiving and reviewing Texas’s submission of the additional information needed for approval,” the Friday statement said. “We are hopeful that Texas will take the steps needed to begin much-needed, forward-looking mitigation projects in the state.”

Brittany Eck, spokesperson for Land Commissioner George P. Bush, told the Houston Chronicle that the agency provided a 628 page document to HUD that satisfied the required paperwork.

“The partisan political game being played by the Biden Administration is putting Texans at risk,” Eck said. “HUD must approve this funding now, before the next storm hits.”

Congress in 2018 approved about $4.3 billion in mitigation funding to Texas following Hurricane Harvey, which struck in 2017 and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in the state, largely in Houston and Harris County.